Everything is good about The Bad Kids

I’ve not posted much recently because I’ve not been watching much recently (and we can blame The Untamed for this because I’ve fallen down the fanfic AU rabbit hole in great part for this), but I have watched some very good dramas lately. Top of the list has to be The Bad Kids, a Chinese drama that is dark, well-written, and definitely for those who loved My Ahjussi and dramas of that type.

In fact, I committed to another streaming service subscription in order to watch it (thank you, IQIYI), and I’m not sorry that I did so. Now if they only had a Roku app…

But I digress. And this is a series that deserves your full attention.

The series starts off with a bang, or should I say a push; just some guy committing a little murder. You could call it a reverse cliffhanger because the background to that and the introduction to the titular bad kids is revealed in slow, incremental pieces, and the tension builds sequentially. Oh, and not only do we have that opening stunner, the ending of each episode is a true cliffhanger. This is a drama where the tension at the end is so tight you do not want to watch it when you’re trying to relax at the end of an evening. Just saying…

I mentioned the acting being superb; it is, and I want to know how they find such talented child actors to play roles like this. You have the highly intelligent bookworm raised by his divorced mother, Chaoyang; his best friend, a runaway from a state run orphanage, Liang; and fellow runaway Pu, who needs to find money to pay for her brother’s leukemia treatment, and together they are involved in one drastic moment after another. These kids will break your heart because they are so much on their own, must be so self-reliant on each other because there is no one else they can fully rely on. Only model student Chaoyang has a parent in his life, but she’s employed at a resort and often stays away in the dorms there as part of her work, whereas Liang’s father is locked up and Pupu is an orphan. Especially in the case of Liang, you see the resilience born of need, the unwarranted self-confidence that he can make his own decisions, and it creates nothing but worry when watching him. The little actress who plays Pupu is a heartbreaker with her luminous eyes and fragile figure, but she’s the glue in this threesome.

Without revealing too much of the plot, the three come across information that leads them into a dangerous course of action. In lesser hands, and in other worlds their decisions would come across as implausible, but because they’ve been thrust into a world in which they must be self-reliant and feel that they have few alternatives, those choices are not far fetched (even if you shout at them across the screen, “don’t do that!”)

The adults in this drama do their fair share too, from the math teacher antagonist Qin Hao, to the two policemen who have the power to change the course of the story (Lu Fang Sheng, who plays Ye Jun might look familiar to those who’ve seen The Longest Day In Chang’An where he played another investigator). And, when you have children who’ve fallen into these desperate situations, you have those adults who have let them down, either intentionally, or due to their own circumstances. Chaoyang’s mother is a case in point; as a divorced single parent it’s clear her life isn’t an easy one, but her actions in raising him and trying to do the right thing contribute, albeit indirectly, to what transpires.

With all this being said, I encourage you to check out The Bad Kids. IQIYI allows for trial free watching for newcomers, so take advantage of that. (Also, they’re bringing out content I’m not seeing on some other sites, so it will be worth keeping an eye on them.) The steamy, almost palpable tropical setting in Ningzhou is the perfect setting for a drama like this one this summer.

#dollar-rong, #iqiyi, #lu-fang-shen, #qin-hao, #shi-peng-yuan, #the-bad-kids, #wang-jing-chun, #wang-sheng-di, #zhu-chao-yang

First Look: Princess Agents

A surprising beginning, especially considering that Viki had this one under “romantic comedy,” and I can’t imagine what they were smoking.

Continue reading

#legend-of-chu-qiao, #lin-geng-xin, #princess-agents, #shawn-dou, #xing-zhao-lin, #zhao-yi-ling

Omo.

eternal_love

The hottest guy with horns I’ve ever seen! LOL.

#eternal-love

Finished “Story of Ming Lan”

minglancover

The 73 episodes were a surprisingly easy inhale.

Also Ming Lan is A BOSS!

That ass kicking I wanted? Got it.
The character focus I was expecting? Got it.
The clever, resourceful badass little girl in the beginning of the drama who wanted justice? GOT HER BACK!
Continue reading

#feng-shao-feng, #story-of-ming-lan, #zhao-yi-ling

“Story of Ming Lan” — Up to Ep. 25

minglan

This is totally a Chinese “Sense and Sensibility,” with some “Pride and Prejudice” and “Northanger Abbey” thrown in. LOL. Well, not really, but it has that same sort of feel!
Continue reading

#feng-shao-feng, #story-of-ming-lan, #zhao-yi-ling

“Story of Ming Lan” — Up to Ep. 9

minglangirl2

May I just say how much I love this child?

This drama sure is taking its time getting started. Though the title is “Story of Ming Lan,” Ming Lan appears in maybe 10 percent of each episode, if that, and so far has no active role in any of the conflicts and crises around her.
Continue reading

#feng-shao-feng, #story-of-ming-lan, #zhao-yi-ling

“Story of Ming Lan” — Ep. 1

Minglan header

A promising start! Not sure what it is about or where we are going, but so far a lot of it is going right for me!
Continue reading

#feng-shao-feng, #story-of-ming-lan, #zhao-yi-ling, #zhu-yi-long

Finally saw “Guardian”

guardian2
Honestly, during the time that I was on hiatus from dramas I kept hearing about this Cdrama all over the place. I always thought it would be a good one because the buzz around it seemed so high, people really seemed to love it. So when Robin recently mentioned that it was one of the dramas she had seen that had been shot at Shanghai Film Studios, I suddenly remembered that “oh yeah I should finally get around to watching that!”

How is it possible that this drama is so horribly bad???
Continue reading

#bai-yu, #guardian, #supernatural, #zhu-yi-long

Back to “The Longest Day In Chang’an”

I think that picking up once again on this drama may be the smartest decision I’ve made this year when it comes to choosing what to watch. Earlier, I felt conflicted about how it portrayed the various ethnic groups (wondering if this was an oblique justification of the current treatment of Uyghur peoples), but I wanted to take a closer look and evaluate those sentiments. As the story has unfolded it’s been less about the “foreign” group of the Wolven Pack and more about the corruption and betrayals and power struggles within the Tang court, from low ranking officials to the highest ministers and the Emperor, and about human nature and those things that drive us.

By the way, there are no spoilers in this post; it’s really more of an appreciation love letter!

Jackson Yee as Li Bi, head of the Peacekeepers Bureau

I’m now just over half-way though this continued viewing; I’d be further along but this is one of those productions that is just too full – overwhelming action, complicated decisions, dense visuals. Watching standard dramas versus watching this one is like eating a Hershey bar versus eating the richest Belgian truffle – you can’t take in more than a few bites. I find myself holding my breath with each episode; it’s become that good. Episode 16, in particular, is just stunning.

Lei Jiayin as Zhang Xiaojing, the death row former soldier with the 1-day reprieve

What makes each block of time (generally 3 episodes is my max before my brain combusts) so worthwhile is almost too time-consuming to explain, but it begins with the cast, especially Lei Jiayin as the unlikeliest of leading men. He’s rumpled, got a blocky build, sports his own scruffy hair and beard (lots of real hair in this drama, btw), but he’s so convincing as the bad-ass soldier with the courage of his convictions. He is called upon to do the impossible 3 times every hour, but he manages to convince me every time that he can do it.

Reyizha Alimjan as Tan Qi, servant to Li Bi

We also get a female character who is smart, resourceful, willing to take chances and do what needs to be done in Reyizha Alimjan’s Tan Qi. Yes, she’s technically a servant to Li Bi, but she’s there to help him in supervising and aiding Zhang Xiaojing and she works and thinks as hard as any man in the story – more than some!

Zhou Yiwei as Long Bo, mercenary and more

The various characters who are supposed to be working with the Peacekeepers Bureau (but aren’t) and those they’re trying to stop before they set the world afire are not just cartoon characters, which makes them worthy opponents deserving of screen time even if they add to the frustration. One of these who commands your attention every time he’s onscreen is Zhou Yiwei, who’s Long Bo is a mercenary and running the show for his employers (as of this moment in the plot). He reminds me so much of Lee Bum-soo with those eyes and the shape of his face; I’d love to see them go toe-to-toe in something someday.

Lu Fangsheng as Yao Runeng, Investigator

Most of all, the sheer scope and beauty of this drama is difficult to beat; I’m hard-pressed to thing of many other dramas that are this cinematic, this rich in visual and aural texture and scale. Each episode is like a 40-minute feature film, one that many in Hollywood and elsewhere would be proud to have on their resumes.

I’m not sure how long it will take me to finish at this rate, and I can only hope that each subsequent episode will be as satisfying as those that have preceded it. I’ll be back to let you know what the final verdict is, but for right now, this one is one of the ones to beat for best of the viewing year.

#jackson-yee, #lei-jiayin, #lu-fangsheng, #peng-guanying, #reyizha-alimjan, #song-yunhao, #the-longest-day-in-changan, #wang-herun, #xu-lu, #zhao-wei, #zhou-yiwei

Finished “Medical Examiner Dr. Qin”

medexamtrio

Preposterous.
Not for the thinking drama watcher at all. It was such a shallow, amateur effort.
Continue reading

#jiao-jun-yan, #li-xian, #medical-examiner-dr-qin, #zhang-ruo-yun